By Gail P – (Rockland, ME)
Hi, we are headed to Cayman Brac for snorkeling in April 2014. I need some information about where to go on the island. I am hoping to get a recommendation for the best guide book for snorkeling (since you haven’t written one yet). Does anyone have information or guidebook suggestions? Thanks!
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Tom Turner – Feb 14, 2014 – Cayman Brac
I don’t think that you will find a guidebook on snorkeling Cayman Brac. There is some information in my post on Cayman Brac. Also, you can put “snorkeling or shore diving Cayman Brac” into a search engine and you will get some info. It is a very small and friendly island. Stop at a dive shop or ask other snorkelers. You will have a wonderful time and there will be plenty of places to snorkel. Wish I were going with you.
Molly – Feb 18, 2014 – Some Cayman Brac Info
We’ve been on Cayman Brac for 10 days now, and will be here for 12 more. We have been checking out Lawson Wood’s “Complete Guide to Diving and Snorkeling The Cayman Islands.” It is geared toward divers, because that is what is happening here.
The shore is almost all iron-shore, and so one must scout out potential put-in spots. We snorkeled at Buccaneer’s, the site of the sunken ship, Handcuff Reed, and Public Beach, which is the only actual sandy beach we have found.
We are lucky enough to have a small reef right in front of our rental, but the bottom is rocky and filled with sea urchins, so you must enter carefully. The weather has changed now, and so no snorkeling for several days.
The island itself is completely charming… very rural and laid-back. The “Brackers” are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a 100+ passenger sailing cruiser tomorrow. This is something new for Cayman Brac, and an inevitability.
The people are friendly and accommodating, and crime is virtually unheard of. Absolutely no night life. The local restaurants are authentic and reasonable, if you stay away from the big hotel (The Alexander). We didn’t try the restaurant at the Brac Reef Resort, because it was too pricey.
So.. until we take our trip to Little Cayman later in the week, I can’t really rave about the snorkeling here. If JUST snorkeling all the time is what you’re after, I don’t think this is the place.
The diving, however, is absolutely world class, according to my husband. You do have the option of going out with the dive boats and snorkeling out in the sea if there’s room on the boat, but I haven’t done that yet.
If you want close-in snorkeling with lots of coral, sponges, and small fish, on an island that time forgot, then you’ll love it.
I’ll try to post more later, after our trip to Little Cayman, which is even more deserted and quiet.
Molly – Feb 20, 2014 – Today’s Trip to Little Cayman… Sublime!
Hi Gail, wanted to update you after our trip to Little Cayman. We hired the fellow who manages the property we’re renting, Derwin Scott, 51, born here, and on the sea since he could walk. We met him at the dock at 7:30 AM, and headed over in a 18 ft. center console boat with a new outboard, and an easy access ladder. The weather looked pretty calm this morning.
The ride over was great… lots of Boobies and schools of Flying Fish. Beautiful, easy ride.
The snorkeling, off the boat, was fantastic! We saw Porcupinefish, Trumpetfish, Rock Hind, lobster, all the typical reef fish, beautiful healthy coral and sponges, a shark, rays. The area is a marine sanctuary, completely protected.
The ride back was, gulp, exciting! The wind had whipped up to fiveish foot swells. The four of us did fine, and I never felt in any danger. It was about two very wet, bouncy hours to get back. It probably takes 20 minutes to make the trip on a calm day. We went directly to the Brac Reef Resort for Cheeseburgers and beer. Very nice.
Our mistake was not listening… When we arrived Derwin said we should take advantage of the weather and go on the 13th, 14th, or 15th, which were dead calm. The group decided to postpone it for some snorkeling practice, assuming the weather would be la di da. The wind moved in on the 16th, and we’ve been waiting for a break since then (it’s now the 21st, I think). This morning was windy, not bad, so off we went. Lesson learned. We DON’T know better than the local expert.
We’re going again next week, when again the seas will be still. It’s expensive ($400 US), but every time we slapped down $60+. for dinner here it was so worth it, split two ways. We couldn’t afford to do it on our own.
So, I highly recommend that you contact Derwin while you’re here, if you want to make that trip. He is just the most genuine, competent fellow. The dive shops also provide this charter, in a bigger boat, for the same price. But you won’t have Derwin.
You could also just stay on Little Cayman for a few days and swim to the reef. If I knew then what I know now, I would have booked Little Cayman for a few days.
Had an excellent dinner last night at the Star Restaurant. As everywhere locally owned, all dishes cost $10 CI. A US dollar is worth 81 cents CI.
You’re gonna love it here.
Gail P – Feb 22, 2014 – Many Thanks!
Tom and Molly, thanks for the feedback, stories and ideas. Keep them coming. I’m starting to get really excited for our trip!
Molly – Feb 23, 2014 – More Brac
Just wanted to ask where you are staying while “on the Brac”.
We had our second delicious local dinner at the Star Restaurant on the north side last night. Huge services of fish and conch. Also liked the place out by the police station, and the Coral Garden, by the locals bar.
Today we took our first-time snorkeling buddy to a place I mentioned, the swimming pool where the Tibbets ship is sunk, and the hubby said he found a sea fan “garden” out the cut to the right (east).
We also did the Friday BBQ buffet at the Reef Resort which was pricey ($25+CI), but I ended up with over a 1/3 of a succulent jerk chicken, and a whole steak cooked to order. And all the usual sides, oh, and jerk mahi-mahi, and desert… as we sat round a table in the sand next to the boardwalk to the beach.
So that happened…
Gail P – Mar 4, 2014 – Cayman Brac
We are traveling with our long-time dive shop and staying at the Brac Reef Resort. Glad to hear the food is good! It’s an all inclusive trip, but we may have a couple nights where we venture out for dinner, so thanks for the tips.
I have started packing and it’s still five weeks away!
Pat – Jul 18, 2014 – Cayman Brac
We were on Cayman Brac February 2014. We did find a guidebook by going to the local tourist info booth. On the outside of the building there is a typed printout of at least 10 snorkel spots. We were able to go to many and found them very interesting, easy to get to and fun! We enjoyed snorkeling every day and went to a new site every day. There is a sunken Russian freighter and a site where they have placed statues to see. A lot of fish and coral. I recommend going to Cayman Brac for snorkeling.